Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gregory: "Pet Custody: Distorting Language and the Law"

John DeWitt Gregory (Hofstra University School of Law) has posted "Pet Custody: Distorting Language and the Law" (Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1, p. 35, 2010) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Pets or companion animals are the property of those who own them. In this article, I shall show that pets that are the subject of disputes between divorcing spouses or separating unmarried couples should continue to be characterized as property under a rational legal system. Proposals in the law review literature and halting, early attempts by some courts to place pets in some category other than property, which flirted with a standard derived from the prevailing best-interest-of-the-child doctrine in conventional child custody and visitation cases, are, at best, vanity. Such proposals do violence to both the language and the law of child custody, create uncertainty in a well-established area of divorce law, and offer no discernible prospect of improving the welfare of companion animals.


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